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Monday, October 26, 2015

crockpot chicken chili

See you in 10 hours, crockpot chicken chili.

Over three months ago I wrote about Sour Cherry Conserva and then vanished into the void. I can’t feign apology, because I don’t think many people noticed, and I’m not saying it to be all , don’t make me sing! I mean that in the sense that we are all busy and have a lot of things going on. And the living—the real kind, that is—is made up of human interaction, not bits and bytes via a series of tubes. And these months, I’ve been focusing on exactly that with a tiny human who has enough energy to power a small town.

One quick aside before I cut right to the chase: many of you have asked what I feed Avi now that he’s older and eating solids. I’m happy to write about various things I’ve cooked for him, but I don’t want to sound at all condescending or suggest that there’s a right or wrong way to feed babies. So, if you’re interested, I’m happy to share what works for us.

Anyway—let’s get right to business, shall we?

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

marcella hazan’s ragu bolognese

made about 3 meals' worth of bolognese

As I inch towards the finish line with this pregnancy, I’m also getting closer to completely filling up my freezer. Space is of the essence, so I’m playing this game of shifting things around to make room. All the butter (and I mean all the butter) has been moved to the fridge. The frozen bananas I originally intended to use in smoothies and then promptly forgot about, wound up in the garbage. There’s also a bag of polenta now in the fridge, and will, no doubt, make a fine meal one night this month. As part of cooking on weekends to have weekday meals, I inadvertently started the “nesting” process of stocking the freezer a few months ago. There is my favorite chili and pulled Santa Fe chicken made in a crockpot; soups for days: red lentil, chicken, Vermont cheddar, parsnip leek; Marcella Hazan’s tomato butter sauce; and a whole roasted chicken (Ina’s recipe) from Andrew’s mom which now resides in a giant ziploc bag; and because it’s winter, meatballs (two kinds) and Marcella Hazan’s ragu bolognese. I figured that if we supplement it all with take-out a few days a week, we should be good for a month. I’m also hoping to try to get into cooking as soon as I can, even if it’s just a fried egg.

You would think that seeing the full contents of my freezer would make me cease this madness, but clearly pregnancy makes you insane, because the other day, I peeked inside the freezer and decided that we didn’t have enough of the bolognese. When I told Andrew I was making another double-batch, he simply looked at me, Are you sure you want to spend a whole day on this?

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

vietnamese pork chops

Vietnamese pork chops #latergram #vscocam #privatechefmonth

A few things here that I want to say real fast before work swallows me whole for the day.

1. I’m sorry for posting traif. While we’re not exactly a kosher household, pork rarely makes it on our plates save for bacon and prosciutto, aka, “meat candy”.

2. Andrew and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary, and I guess we’re no longer newlyweds, except I refuse to believe it and whenever someone tries to inform me of the actual time frame that defines the term, I just put hands over my ears and sing myself a song. Despite the insane amount of work on my plate, I vowed (the day before our anniversary, as Sunday was my private chef day) to not even think about work for a day, and that’s exactly what we did, spent a whole day hanging out in the city eating oysters and farmer’s market strawberries. It was swell.

3. Two days ago I worked out next to Jaime Lannister, aka dreamboat Nikolai Coster-Waldau, and almost fell off my treadmill due to excitement.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

agrodolce meatballs

Meatballs for my client. Just wait til you read about it. No tomato sauce in sight. #latergram #nofilter

Greetings from the land of overbooked and overextended. Somehow, the end of May and the month of June have managed to shape themselves into something far more demanding than the sum of its parts. There’s work here, and work there, and work seemingly seeping out of every crevice I happen upon. This might sound like complaining, but it’s far from it – a few short months ago I was growing increasingly listless and anxious about not having enough to do, so having too much on my plate is arguably better. Still, some things must take priority and others less so, which is why instead of a picture of finished meatballs, you get an iPhone photo of the ones in the process of browning. To be honest, since I cooked a week’s worth of dinners that day, I just forgot to take a picture. Also, below is a random picture of mirepoix cooking. Aaaaaand you’re welcome for that one!

As I mentioned in my last post, I managed to pick up a private chef gig for the month of June. The upside is that my client eats almost everything – which makes cooking actually fun. But still, there’s quite a bit of work involved: from menu-planning, shopping for ingredients, prep, actual cooking, and to the dreaded clean-up. By the time I was done with this first week’s worth of meals, the kitchen looked like a small battle took place there, and I had to resort to Brillo pads and good old elbow grease to put the kitchen back together the way I found it. It took awhile.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

skirt steak with buttered radishes + giveaway!

skirt steak with buttered radishes

Hi, friends. Today, let’s talk to one another, frankly, about money. Or rather how we worry about money in this economy; and let’s face it — most of us, in some way or another, have worried about money at some point especially since 2008. Am I right?

Money conversations are never fun and are almost always awkward. I’m not sure why, but in our culture, money conversations are considered bad form. We can talk about income disparity, socio-economics, income levels, but when the matter of personal income is concerned, the conversation pretty much stops.

But it would be unfair to write about food, eating well, shopping at farmers’ markets, seeking out the best ingredients, and not, implicitly, bring up money. No one’s going to give you a dozen eggs for free, never mind a dozen eggs from fancy hens with their own names. Ramps and fiddlehead ferns (the trendy darlings of spring) aren’t cheap. Go to the farmer’s market in mid-August and try to buy a few tomatoes – they’ll cost you.

Continue reading skirt steak with buttered radishes + giveaway!.

Monday, February 4, 2013

bratwurst, cabbage, and sauerkraut

brats, cabbage, sauerkraut (and beer)

This, above, might not look like much: bratwurst with cabbage looks humble enough, but let me tell you – it’s something, all right. On a cold February night accompanied by freezing rain, I can’t think of more satisfying dinner. Also, feel free to file this under “Crap, it’s [fill in the day of the week] night, the fridge is empty, and there’s no dinner plan” kind of a meal. Happens in this household more often than I like to admit. And also a random but important aside (and please tell me if I’m alone in this): on the worst kind of nights, the kind where there’s bitter winds and cold rain or sleet, I am loathe to call for take-out because (and follow me here a moment) I feel badly about sending the delivery guys out in this weather delivering my food. I worry that they might get sick and there’s no health insurance; I fret over the fact that people’s driving is more erratic when there is bad weather and the delivery guys might get into an accident. I know my logic is flawed (by not ordering I am costing them income), and when we do order in on such nights, we tip extra for the delivery guys’ effort, but still, the pang of guilt in making them go out into the elements – I feel it every time.

Bratwurst served with sauerkraut is, I’m told, a very common thing in Germany. It’s hearty, hardy fare, downright pedestrian if you think about it; honest cooking without much cooing or pretense. It’s meant to warm you right down to your bones and fill your belly, and goes down beautifully with a pint of beer. Right about now I might crave Florida sunshine, a pool, and an umbrella drink, but for this, friends, you need the all the misery of the Northeast February (or anywhere where it’s cold) with all its inglorious freeze to fully appreciate what visually doesn’t, in the least bit, look arresting.

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